Two-headed analyst tour

Early in his tenure at Inprise/Borland in 2000, just after a rigorous tour of meetings with industry analysts and consultants that followed the company, Frank Slootman, senior vice president of software products, realized the disconnect and was perplexed. Inprise/Borland was a two-headed company that confused much of the software world. The original Borland name, on the other hand, still stood for something.

Slootman, new to the company but an industry veteran with some 15 years at Compuware Corp., Comshare and Burroughs, knew something had to be done. After the tour, he told CEO Dale Fuller that analysts “felt that the name Inprise was bad enough, but going to the name Inprise/Borland was advertising a lack of decisiveness on the issue.”

“Yes, it was a disaster,” agreed Fuller.

Slootman said the issue was debated heavily within management ranks, but that there was general agreement relatively quickly and “we started to move very quickly down the path of actually changing the name back to Borland.”

When the name was changed back to whence it had begun, in January 2001, “we made it with very little fanfare,” Slootman said. “I believe the company spent between $2.5 million and $3 million on the original name change to Inprise. Changing it back to Borland, we probably spent less than $50,000. We did the Nasdaq symbol and did all the official filings with the SEC. We spent zero money promoting it other than the press release saying that it happened. We spent no money on business cards. We spent no money on forms; we just used up what we had and ordered new ones.”

Please see the related story “Can Borland ride the life cycle?” by Michael W. Bucken and John K. Waters

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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